Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
When they’re not busy dominating the race course, these pros offer their time and resources to help others in need. Learn about their causes and how you can help.
The cause: Exceeding Expectations, an organization created by Ironman legend Cherie Gruenfeld in 2000 to help at-risk inner-city kids through the sport of triathlon.
How she helps: In 2004, she convinced fellow members of the L.A. Tri Club to lead kids through weekend brick workouts. She also raised $30,000 to pay for two years of tuition at UC San Diego for Nate, a kid she had worked with while he was in middle school.
How you can help: Visit Eefoundation.org to learn more, get involved and donate.
“I am a huge believer in the importance of sports for teaching kids so many important values and habits, like work ethic, discipline and persistence—and simply for keeping them out of trouble.”
The cause: Team Red, White & Blue, whose vision is to transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society after combat through physical fitness and personal connections with people in their communities.
How he helps: After spending nine years in the Navy, O’Donnell was contacted to become an athlete ambassador and is now a member of the advisory board.
How you can help: Visit Teamrwb.com to become an athlete (race and train in RWB gear and spread the word) or an advocate (develop friendships with veterans).
“Without the support of the Navy I would not be where I am in triathlon today, and through RWB, I can use this opportunity in triathlon to give back to those who have valiantly served our country.”
The cause: More Than Sport partners with athletes to help relieve poverty, teach and equip people to live healthy lives and encourage youth through sports activities.
How he helps: Lieto founded the organization after seeing the poverty that surrounds the communities where he races. Earlier this year, he led a group in building a house for a family the day after Ironman 70.3 Panama.
How you can help: Visit Morethansport.org to donate, or sign up to race with MTS and then serve the local community (2013 races include Ironman 70.3 Panama and Ironman 70.3 St. Croix).
“Instead of ignoring the problem, why not use sports as a vehicle for change?”
The cause: Jenny’s Light, a nonprofit whose mission is to increase awareness of all perinatal mood disorders including postpartum depression (up to one in five women suffer from the disorder).
How she helps: Lavelle and her family created the foundation in 2008 after losing Lavelle’s twin sister, Jenny, and her baby boy to postpartum depression/psychosis. Lavelle now spreads the word through triathlon and directs the Jenny’s Light 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run every March.
How you can help: Visit Jennyslight.org to help raise awareness and donate.
“I hope that I can spare anyone else from having to suffer the way my family and I have after our loss. If we can save just one life, all of our efforts will be worth it.”